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儒林外史   By: (1701-1754)

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"儒林外史" by Jingzi Wu is a captivating and insightful novel that delves into the complex world of the Confucian scholars during the Qing Dynasty. The author skillfully depicts the lives of the characters, each grappling with their own ambitions, desires, and moral dilemmas. Through their interactions and relationships, Wu paints a vivid portrait of the rigid social hierarchy and the struggles for power and success within the scholarly community.

One of the strengths of the novel is its richly developed characters, who are all flawed and deeply human. The protagonist, Wei Yangsheng, is a complex figure who navigates the treacherous waters of the Confucian world with intelligence and cunning. His relationships with his peers, mentors, and romantic interests are all intricately woven into the narrative, adding layers of depth to the story.

The novel is also a commentary on the corrupting influence of power and the ways in which individuals compromise their principles in order to achieve their goals. Wu skillfully explores the themes of morality, ambition, and the constraints of societal norms, offering a nuanced and thought-provoking exploration of human nature.

Overall, "儒林外史" is a masterfully crafted novel that offers a compelling glimpse into a fascinating period of Chinese history. With its richly drawn characters, intricate plot, and insightful commentary on society, it is a must-read for anyone interested in historical fiction or Chinese literature.

First Page:

第一回 說楔子敷陳大義 借名流隱括全文

“人生南北多歧路,將相神仙,也要凡人做。百代興亡朝复暮,江風吹倒前朝樹。 功名富貴無憑据,費盡心情,總把流光誤。濁酒三杯沈醉去,水流花謝知何處?” 這一首詞,也是個老生長談。不過說:人生富貴功名,是身外之物;但世人一見了 功名,便舍著性命去求他。及至到手之后,味同嚼蜡。自古及今,那一個是看得破 的?雖然如此說,元朝末年,也曾出了一個嵌□磊落的人。人姓王名冕,在諸暨縣 鄉村居住;七歲時死了父親,他母親做些針黹,供給他到村學堂里去讀書。看看三 個年頭,王冕已是十歲了。母親喚他到面前來,說道:“儿啊!不是我有心要耽誤 你,只因你父親亡后,我一個寡婦人家,只有出去的,沒有進來的;年歲不好,柴 米又貴,這几件舊衣服和些舊家伙,當的當了,賣的賣了;只靠著我替人家做些針 黹生活賺來的錢,如何供得你讀書?如今沒奈何,把你雇在隔壁人家放牛,每月可 以得他几錢銀子,你又有現成飯吃,只在明日就要去了。”王冕道:“娘說的是。 我在學堂里坐著,心里也悶;不如往他家放牛... Continue reading book >>

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